Microsoft has announced that it will offer legal protection to Copilot customers for potential copyright infringements. The Copilot Copyright Commitment by the company was announced on Thursday and builds on top of its previously announced AI Customer Commitments.
The announcement by Microsoft comes at a time when companies developing large language models are facing numerous lawsuits from authors, writers, and publishers. OpenAI, for example, has been sued by at least three different groups of writers for copyright infringement in recent times.
Microsoft has been heavily investing in AI through its partnership with OpenAI and other initiatives. It is charging Microsoft 365 users $30 for Copilot, so it is natural that it wants to assure them they can use the output generated by generative AI without worrying about legal troubles.
In a blog post, the company stated that some of the Copilot customers are concerned about the risk of IP infringement claims if they use output generated by the generative AI product. To address this, the company is saying that if a customer is challenged on copyright grounds, it will take the entire responsibility for potential legal risks involved.
“If a third party sues a commercial customer for copyright infringement for using Microsoft’s Copilots or the output they generate, we will defend the customer and pay the amount of any adverse judgments or settlements that result from the lawsuit, as long as the customer used the guardrails and content filters we have built into our products,” notes the blog post by the company.
The commitment covers outputs generated by Microsoft 365 Copilot, GitHub Copilot, and Bing Chat Enterprise. However, the company has also issued a disclaimer that its technology can be intentionally misused to generate harmful content. To prevent this, customers must utilize content filters and other safety features built into the software. The company emphasizes that the program comes with important conditions, and users found violating these conditions would not receive its benefits.
Sharing details about why Microsoft is taking this step, the company stated that they stand behind their customers when they use their products. Additionally, the company emphasized that they are sensitive to the concerns of authors and believe that Microsoft, rather than their customers, should assume the responsibility to address them. Lastly, the company is expressing confidence in the filters it has built into Copilot to ensure that it doesn’t return infringing content.